Lightning in the Pool, Lightning in the Sky

Warralong, Nullagine and Marble Bar schools recently completed their first watery battle for swimming carnival supremacy, and bragging rights.

A week of swimming lessons and coach education saw participants from all three schools learn new skills that would be put into practise at the end of the week’s swimming carnival.

Ngurra Kujungka Recreation Officers were involved in the week’s activities, with Sharonette Tom from the Warralong Community becoming the first fully-qualified Martu Swimming Teacher.

The convergence of more than 100 children and youth from the three communities, the Marble Bar pool was at capacity. There was much laughter, cheering, ‘super–speed’ swimming, and a few nearly-shed tears from Ngurra Kujungka Indigenous Sports Development Officer, Callan Hatchman as he tried to arrange everyone into a watery group photo as a highly successful day unfolded.

The inaugural Ngurra Kujungka Western Communities Swimming Carnival testified to the spirit and purpose of Ngurra Kujungka as Martu adults, children, teachers and recreation officers came together. The carnival program offered a variety of ‘races’ from noodle challenges for the young ones to flat-out, lightning-fast 25m freestyle sprints for the older children.

As the day was winding down and races had been won and lost, a storm cell with flashes of lightning brought an abrupt halt to proceedings.

In a close battle that separated the communities by just three points, Marble Bar School finished on top, followed by Warralong and Nullagine.

In thanking all participants for their contributions to the inaugural carnival’s success, Callan Hatchman paid tribute to Ngurra Kujungka’s foundation and major sponsor Newcrest Mining Ltd, and to supporting sponsors the Department of Sport and Recreation, AustSwim, the Shire of East Pilbara, and to School principals, teachers and recreation officers.

Nullagine School principal Greg Neo indicated that the success of the swimming carnival boded well for future sports competitions between the three schools. “This was an amazing day, we will be back next year for another swimming carnival, and we look forward to coming up against Warralong and Marble Bar in an inaugural Athletics Carnival in Term Two,” he said.  Warralong teacher Anita Ramage echoed Mr Neo’s comments. “This has been a very successful event, and we’re looking forward to the next one, she said.